Therapists! I previously wrote about how mindfulness training, and how it had been a helpful tool for my life. But when I got hurt in September of 2018, all that mindfulness training disappeared and my life was seemingly falling apart. I couldn’t control my mind to save my life. So I did the next best thing, and decided to find someone else who could: I got myself a therapist. I personally had never been to therapy before and didn’t know what to expect. I used Tyler Moore because my back injury was preventing me from driving for the foreseeable future, and this platform gave me access to the help I needed from the comfort of my own bed.
I decided that talking to a therapist would help me to work through the frustrations and emotional burdens of being in physical pain all the time. But let me tell you, therapists are fantastic at reading people, it’s like their job. It took a few sessions for me to tell her the important parts of myself and my own story. Once she was filled in, she saw right through me. It could have been that most people don’t seek a therapist for physical pain, but a doctor instead (which I was also doing!!). The physical pain had brought an emotional burden because it had taken my identity with it.
It all felt so unfair. I was young, active, fit, and otherwise healthy. The “why me?” pity-filled saga ran through my head countless times each day. That feeling of unfairness created anger. Suddenly I wasn’t just angry about being unable to move, I was angry about everything, and being angry at the pain was easier than the deeper emotional pain I was holding onto.
One day, my therapist gently asked me if there was anything else I was angry at, besides the physical pain. Of course, when the question was asked, it poured out of me. I was angry that my social life had screeched to a halt because it relied on activities. I was angry that my freedom had been stripped away and I was confined to my bed. I was angry that other people didn’t have pain. I was angry that I had to rely on my parents to bring me to all of my doctors appointments. I was extra angry I couldn’t sit on the floor and pet my dog. Add in some personal difficulties, and voila, I was angry at almost anything that I could be angry about.
As I opened the floodgates of rage, she probed with another question; “Do you think that this physical pain might be a good distraction for you so that you don’t have to deal with any emotional pain you might be ignoring?”. Of course, my immediate response was denial, I mean was she really suggesting that I ran from my emotions and wasn’t aware of my own feelings even though I was a meditation goddess??? Yeah, so looking back it was pretty obvious. I had convinced myself for years that the unnamed feeling inside of me, the one that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, was something to be ignored because it felt too daunting and overwhelming to figure out. The hardest things to do are usually the most rewarding, and I decided that I would begin a new kind of adventure, one through uncharted territory.
That internal pressure of that realization was definitely the moment I realized how much time I put into building a facade of strength when I was really struggling. Here I was, thinking that I had been aware of my own emotions, and practicing mindfulness, but I was still sufficiently blind to some of my biggest obstacles. Meanwhile, my mind had done a phenomenal job telling me I was only upset about the physical pain.
A series of a few questions by my therapist flipped my world around. I knew I had a choice to make. I could continue to intentionally disregard and ignore the uncomfortable feelings, or dedicate myself wholeheartedly to personal growth. If its true that “life starts where your comfort zone ends”, I was ready to start living. I now feel like an entirely new person that I have the pleasure of getting to know. I’m not sure if I’d be where I am today without a steady practice of mindfulness, or if I’d never reached out for some professional help.
My hope is that anyone reading right now, if you’ve ever felt like something isn’t quite right, or maybe something feels overwhelming and incredibly wrong, don’t allow your brain to give you excuses for inaction. This is your life, and it really is worth putting the time and effort into making it the best it can be. Heck, I am a therapy ADVOCATE, I think everyone should be required to see a therapist! I know there’s still a combination of stigma and fear of judgment when it comes to therapy, fueled by “but what will others think”, but guess what? You can’t control what others think, say, or do so you might as well rock out with a good therapist and level-up in life to the best you that you can possibly be.
Some questions before you adventure off..
What do you think of people who seek therapy? (be honest with yourself!!)
Are you afraid of personally seeking therapy for how others will perceive you?
Is there something that’s been bothering you and affecting your mental health, but you know sorting out the details will be overwhelming and a potentially painful and emotional process? (hmm…interesting…)
Have you ever experienced an underlying emotion you couldn’t understand that persisted for a significant amount of time?